Keepin' It Fresh

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In Season: Basil

Posted by | Maria, Recipes, Seasonal | No Comments

Basil is my all-time favorite herb and I am so excited it is in season. There is nothing like fresh basil!

There are several species of basil, but the most common is sweet basil. It is often used for caprese salad, pesto, tomato sauces, and to liven up Italian dishes.

To harvest fresh basil, clip the stem where it extends from a two-leaf joint. A new stem and leaf will grow from this point. Continuing to clip and use the basil while it is young and tender keeps the leaves and stems from maturing and forming buds and blooms. If the plant flowers, the basil will have a slightly bitter taste so try to keep basil plants trimmed!

If you harvest more than you can use, you can place the basil in a jar of water and store it on the counter for a few days. You can also freeze basil! To prevent the basil from wilting and turning brown, blanch the basil first.  Chill and pat the basil dry and put the leaves in a blender or food processor and puree, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to make a smooth paste. Freeze the basil in ice cube trays for easy use! You can also make batches of pesto to freeze.

If you are looking for ways to use up your summer basil, here are a few of my favorite basil recipes!

non alcoholic drinks refreshing - stephanie brubaker

Sparkling Black Currant Punch

Posted by | Recipes, Seasonal, Steph B | No Comments

I love to make special, non-alcoholic drinks for friends and family; not having a mini bar should not mean you are destined only to a glass of water all evening!  Start with pretty bottles (I purchased mine at IKEA; they are pictured above) and good ingredients and you’ll be on your way to a delightful evening.  Since black currant juice is a beautiful, deep color and boasts a tartness that cannot be beat, it’s a great base to this simple, but delicious drink.  Please note that each of these ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s.  Enjoy!

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no-bake

15 No-Bake Desserts for Summer

Posted by | Maria, Recipes | No Comments

It is heating up outside and that means it is cooling down in our kitchen. I don’t like to turn the oven on during the hot summer months, but I still enjoy making delicious desserts. Today I am sharing 15 No-Bake Desserts that are perfect for summer. You don’t have to heat up the house to enjoy these tasty treats! Make one or make them all! Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes - stephanie brubaker

Big Batch Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Posted by | Recipes, Steph B | No Comments

Every time I make pancakes, I am blown away at how many pancakes my kids can pack down!  Unless they consume no less than 8 pancakes, they find themselves hungry.  So this type of mealtime mayhem motivated me to come up with a made-from-scratch buttermilk pancake recipe that satisfied our family of six.  Also,  I highly recommend using King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour.  They will never ever suspect it’s anything but plain, white, all-purpose flour!

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Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad

recipe: strawberry blue cheese salad

Posted by | Deborah, Recipes | No Comments

The temperatures are finally heating up, and there is nothing I like more when it’s hot outside than a nice, crisp salad, filled with fruit and flavor. This Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad has been a recent favorite that I can’t get enough of. It’s topped with a simple raspberry vinaigrette that is a favorite and the combination of flavors is outstanding!!
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Honey Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Posted by | Maria, Recipes | No Comments

One of our favorite side dishes are Honey Mustard Roasted Potatoes. They go great with just about any meal! They are super easy to make too! We like to use red potatoes, but you can use your favorite potato. We toss chopped potatoes in the honey mustard sauce and roast until they are tender and slightly crispy. I love extra crispy potatoes so sometimes I will leave them in a little longer.

If you are looking for an easy side dish recipe, give our Honey Mustard Potatoes a try!

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tropical refresher mocktail - stephanie brubaker : stephmodo

Warm Weather Mocktails: Tropical Refresher

Posted by | Recipes, Seasonal, Steph B | No Comments

Welcome to a three-week series on delicious “mocktails” you can easily make at home…no mixology experience required!  All you need are quality juices, fresh herbs and a few beautiful, glass bottles with pretty tops.  I purchased mine at IKEA (they are pictured above) and have been quite pleased so far (note: these recipes are made for this size bottle so use this as an excuse to stock up!).  Also, I recently discovered that many of the juices at Trader Joe’s are not only cost effective, but high quality as well.  The 100% pineapple juice can’t be beat, nor can the $2 orange juice; both found in the refrigerated section.  In fact, all of the ingredients in this recipe can be purchased at TJ’s, making it a one-stop shop.

One of my favorites in this series is this Tropical Refresher.  The mint adds a nice kick, which makes me crave Summertime.  This year, I would be a-okay with skipping Spring, in order to jump right into warm weather and cool drinks.  In the meantime, I will be making this again soon to tide myself over.  Enjoy!

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